EU and WHO boost their commitment to enhance vaccine safety in Azerbaijan
19 October 2023
Under the framework of the “Vaccination Support” project, funded by the European Union (EU), WHO organized a three-day workshop from October 11th to 13th. The workshop, titled "New Developments in Surveillance and Causality Assessment of Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI)," featured an interactive training format facilitated by experts from the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
The primary goal of this workshop is to reinforce the existing vaccine safety surveillance systems within Azerbaijan. It aims to empower national mechanisms for detection and causality assessment of AEFI.
Dr. Hande Harmanci, the WHO Representative and Head of the WHO Country Office in Azerbaijan, along with Vusala Safarova, Advisor of the Department of Public Health and Disease Control at the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan, underscored the significance of epidemiological observation of AEFI as a pivotal aspect of the immunization program.
The event drew approximately 40 participants, including representatives from the national immunization program, drug regulatory authorities, specialists in primary healthcare and hospital services, and educators in medical programs.
The workshop covered critical topics related to AEFI assessment and management. These included surveillance and monitoring methodologies, investigation of AEFI clusters, a review of WHO guidelines, and resources for epidemiological control of AEFI, as well as strategies for effective communication, ensuring transparency in vaccine safety, and more. During the event, experts from the USA, Estonia, and Georgia shared insights into the successful establishment of epidemiological surveillance systems in their respective countries via online presentations.
On the seminar's final day, participants engaged in group work to analyze the information presented over the three days. They discussed existing gaps concerning AEFI within the country and charted directions for future improvements in this field. As the seminar concluded, participants recognized the event as a significant stride toward the development of AEFI systems, acknowledging the creation of new and vital opportunities for the healthcare system.
The EU-funded COVID-19 Vaccination Support project implemented by WHO Country Office in Azerbaijan since June 2021 aims to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen the routine immunization programs in the country. The three-year project is part of the continued support of EU and WHO to Azerbaijan.